I Miss My Friend!

by Cicatrix 3 Replies latest social relationships

  • Cicatrix

    I da'd back in August, because I just couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't take the constant pressure of being under the microscope. And I just plain couldn't continue living what I didn't believe anymore. I don't have any family members in, and I don't regret leaving. I felt I had to make an official break.

    After a rough start, life has been pretty great since. I'm now making up for lost time, learning and growing and pursuing all of those "worldly" things which were so forbidden when I was JW, but which were so much an inborn part of my personality that I became a shell living without them (art, literature, science, higher education,etc.). I absolutely cherish the freedom to question things, to examine them from different angles and points of view. But as it dawns on me on how much I've missed out on, it also makes me grieve for a friend that I had to leave behind.

    She and I were kindred spirits of a sort. We could finish each other's sentences, we were so in tune. It was she who taught me to question in the first place. She was my strength when I was an unquestioning robot. She told it like it was, whether I wanted to hear it or not. It was she who started me on my own road to freedom.

    Now that I am here, I miss not having her to share all this wonder with. I kind of feel like a part of my body has been cut off.

    I now understand how horribly effective and damaging the practice of shunning is. I understand the mental blocks that cult conditioning creates in the minds of those who are still trapped in the ideology.

    I would talk to her in a New York minute when we cross paths, but she is very hesitant when we meet-very confused (she initiated a conversation, but abruptly cut it off).The person who was my strength now seems very afraid when we meet unexpectedly, yet wistful at the same time. I don't know what to do. I don't want to push her so hard that all that "apostate" conditioning clicks her into auto mode.So I let her do the talking, answer only at her prompt, and try to let her know that I still care very much.

    It's interesting to see how former congregation members react when you leave without an "official" reason, and your life doesn't indicate any major changes from the way you were when you were "one of them." When they assess the situation for themselves, and realize that the party line of the lying, immoral, spiritually bankrupt portrayal of the apostate doesn't seem to be manifesting itself in the life of those who leave. It shows in their eyes when you meet-the sadness, the confusion.

    So sometimes I cry for her, my friend, for all we can't share right now. But I know I can't go back.

    I'm starting to reach out to others, to make new friends. But it's hard. I don't feel comfortable with talking about my jw past yet, even though it shaped who I am and the things I have done.Telling people about it would explain a lot, yet it's hard to put into words exactly what being an ex cult member means, when I am only just beginning to understand the ramifications myself.

    Do any of you have any advice? How did/do you tell others, or do you refrain? Many people in our area know I was jw, and most know I've left. They've been nothing but kind, and that's helped.But still, I'm afraid to open up. The last time I did, I was believing jw, and it was used against me. I'm afraid that I don't know to what degree to be candid. I'm afraid of what people will think. And in this respect, I realize I'm not yet free of the cult mindset.

    And [email protected]#$%n it, I miss my friend!!!!

  • calamityjane

    Cicatrix. It is hard to leave ones behind when you finally exit. But know that you're not the only one, everyone here on the board is in the same ship with you.

    I know when my hubby and I left, it was months before I told my workmates that I no longer belonged to the jw bOrg. They were definitely surprised, wanted to the whole story "eventually", and they were soooooo supportive. Whenever I would have a bad day, they would be there for me, I had a lot of shoulders to cry on. Shoulders I never knew I were available until then. I found new friends in them.

    It has now been years since we left, I look back on the old friends still in the bOrg, I feel sorry for them, because I know they miss us. We had great times with them, but they're the ones suffering. I left my parents and brother and his family behind. I felt like an orphan and still do sometimes.

    One of the reasons I don't miss them is because I have such a large circle of friends now, I can barely keep up with them all, and our social activities are in abundance. I can't feel anything, but happy.

    Give yourself time to grieve your loss of friends. But know you have met many here.

  • Cicatrix


    Thanks for your kind reply. My heart really goes out to those of you who have left family behind!!

    It's been six months since I "officially" left, and over a year since I was a "true believer." Now that I've begun to get my footing, I find I'm dealing with emotions that I just couldn't when I first left. But I don't want to stay stuck at this point. I feel the need to start forging friendships with others in my area now. I'm just kind of at a loss how to go about it. I was involved with jws from age sixteen (I'm 37 now). Everything was so regulated, even how to form friendships! So I'm kind of just winging this now.

    In the past couple of weeks, several women I go to school with have struck up conversations with me. I just learned that one woman lives about twenty minutes from me, and we share a love of writing and Celtic music, so I want to try to get together with her. Also, I had a nice talk with a neighbor the other day. I'm trying to muster up the nerve to ask them to do something with me, I just don't know what. All of my friendships in the past started with a 'get together' lol. The girl from school doesn't know about my past jw connection, but my neighbor does. With my neighbor, it's almost as if the jw thing is what kept her from talking to me before-grrr! I really enjoyed talking to her, we seem to have a lot in common. It makes me mad that the religion made her hesitant before, but yet I don't blame her, lol ( I was never really of the pushy informal witnessing type, but was with some who were, and I've gotten an earful from relatives who were subjected to it by others).

    There is a neat little coffee house I just found out about in our area. Maybe I'll invite one of them to go there with me. Why am I so nervous about the prospect of even asking them, lol? This feels so verboten.

    Man, do I have a long way to go.

  • calamityjane


    Well it does sound like your on the road to recovery. You'll be amazed at how many friends you'll make, and when they find out that you were once a jw, I'm telling ya girl, they'll welcome you with open arms.

    My hubby and I had a close relationship with a "wordly" couple when we were dating. After we got married we decided to cut ties with them, because it was "the right thing to do". Okay we got married in 84 and left the bOrg in 1994. A couple of years ago, I met up with them in a store, looking for xmas things. They were taken aback but never questioned me on it. We found out later that they thought hmm they're witnesses and they're trying out christmas, whats that all about."

    One night, my husband goes to visit them after my encounter with them at the store. He told them the whole story, as to why we left our religion, they couldn't believe it. They were glad to hear we were okay and ever since then we have gained an old friendship back. We do lots of things with them. We go camping with them, hike, bike, get together at xmas with them. I've never been happier.

    You'll be fine, and yes ask one of them out for coffee, that will be the first step to a long journey of new friends.

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